Publications-wise, that is. I never really know what to say about my personal life; it’s mostly a combination of uninteresting things, and stuff I don’t especially want to make public.
This was a weird year. For the first time since (I think) 2007 — which was the year after my first two books were published — I didn’t have a novel out. But since I had three in 2021 (The Mask of Mirrors, The Night Parade of 100 Demons, and The Liar’s Knot), and since I’ll have three again next year (The Game of 100 Candles, Labyrinth’s Heart, and The Waking of Angantyr), it’s not like I have much grounds to complain!
Meanwhile, on the short fiction front . . . this was a banner year, with no fewer than ten short stories published (beating out 2019, which had nine, but that was counting my fiction for Legend of the Five Rings, too). Speaking of L5R, this year also saw the publication of my first really significant game work: I’ve written micro-settings for Tiny d6, little branching adventures in 50-word chunks for Sea of Legends, RPG fluff and a few bits of mechanics for an earlier edition of L5R, but now I can lay claim to a full-bore adventure. And I’m really proud of how Imperfect Land turned out, in terms of its structure, its content, and the impact players can have on the larger world of their campaign. If any of you out there are reading for game awards and would like a review copy, just let me know!
And speaking of award nominations, if that’s your reason for looking at posts of this type, the piece I’d most like to bring to your attention is “Fate, Hope, Friendship, Foe” (3800 words, Uncanny Magazine; also available in their podcast). This is my “Atropos on a road trip through the Midwest” story, aka “the story it took me sixteen and a half years to write,” and I couldn’t be more delighted with how it turned out . . . even if for a long time there, I assumed it would never get written.
But as mentioned above, I have many other stories racked up from this year! Not all are available to read online, but:
* “Chrysalis” (5700 words, Beneath Ceaseless Skies) — a setting based on Mesoamerican folklore, where the main character is arguably a rock.
* “This Living Hand” (2900 words; Sunday Morning Transport but paywalled to subscribers) — dead Romantic poets and a willow tree that is up to no good.
* “Never to Behold Again” (440 words, Daily Science Fiction) — flash set in a world where beauty is eroded by people perceiving it.
* “The Me of Perfect Sight” (670 words, NewMyths) — Sumerian mythology about Inanna’s theft of the holy me.
* “And Ask No Leave of Thee” (7500 words, Neither Beginnings Nor Endings) — a modern retelling of “Tam Lin” that started with me figuring out how to do a non-magical version of the transformation sequence, then wound up as fantasy anyway.
* “Two for the Path” (1200 words, Shattering the Glass Slipper) — what if Snow White’s stepmother was actually trying to save her?
* “The Faces and the Masks” (340 words, Daily Science Fiction) — a meditative bit of fantasy-religious flash in the setting of the Rook and Rose series.
* “Crafting Chimera” (6700 words, ZNB Presents but paywalled to subscribers) — a psychologist tries to help a shapeshifter with identity issues.
Whoof, that’s a lot. But you know what? I already have seven stories racked up in the sold-but-not-published queue, all of which I’ve been at least tentatively told will be out in 2023. And I have two more for which I don’t have a date, but it might be in 2023. So with a few more sales — provided they’re to markets that aren’t already booked out so far, new acquisitions will be going into the 2024 schedule — I could theoretically surpass this record . . .